Bob Earll      It took years to drag the Government into implementing a plastic bag tax which they now acknowledge is working. The 2016 MCS Beachwatch data also confirms this with an almost 50% decline in plastic bags in the recent Beachwatch survey. Targeting particular items is a powerful tool and begs the question of what is the most important item to target next. Plastic drinks containers would seem to be a good one. This post has three articles

  • Beachwatch results showing an almost 50% decline in plastic bags
  • Coffee cups The embarrassment caused by Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall to the huge changes seems to have had an effect.
  • Richard Thompson (video of a talk) on the challenges of marine litter and the importance of the circular economy 


The September 2016 Great British Beach Clean saw just short of 6,000 volunteers clean 364 beaches around the UK, recording the litter they found. The results have revealed a mixed picture.

We picked up a huge amount of rubbish – 268,384 individual pieces, although this is a little lower than last year. The number of plastic bags found have almost halved in a year. We think that’s down to the charge at the checkout, which is now in place across the whole UK. But there was an astonishing rise in the amount of balloon related litter, up over 50% on 2015. There were more drinks containers, bottle caps and lids, too – up more than 4% on the previous year. For more information click here. 

Coffee cups

It was Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall who raised the issue of how few big chain coffee cups were being recycled. Recently the Government declined to act but the embarrassment the major chains suffered during this period seems to have prompted them into a major fit of activity to address this issue (Guardian). 

Professor Richard Thompson from Plymouth University is a well-known speaker on marine litter and the need for the circular economy. This talk on “Marine Litter: are there solutions to this global environmental problem?” was recently recorded at the Marine Biological Association. Watch the video on:

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